WASHINGTON — A car seat can save an infant’s life — but a new study shows most new parents are using their car seats incorrectly.
Researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University surveyed 291 families as they prepared to head home from the hospital with a newborn.
Each family was monitored as parents placed their baby in a car seat, or — if not yet done — installed the seat in the car.
The results were worrisome. Ninety-five percent of the families made at least one mistake using a car seat, and 91 percent of the time, that mistake was very serious.
The Oregon study — published in the Journal of Pediatrics — found a lot of parents did not install the car seat correctly, while others didn’t position or buckle the baby in properly.
The researchers say new parents probably need training from a car seat pro, and manufacturers need to do more to make these life-saving devices easier for consumers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says car seat use reduces the risk of infant death by 71 percent. In 2013 alone, 135 infants died in car accidents and approximately 8,500 were seriously hurt.
Safe Kids Worldwide is a great source of information on proper car seat use, as is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.